1. #1
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    Feb 2003

    Exclamation Thermal Imager Tunnel Vision

    Learned a lesson today! We got a call for a general fire alarm at a school. While en-route, dispatch radioed that they had the maintenance man on the phone, and he confirmed light smoke in the building! I already had two engines on the way, and a third company moving up to our vacated station, and I put another station on standby in their quarters.

    On arrival I initiated incident command, and appointed an Assistant Chief who arrived on scene right behind me as operations. Operations checked out the inside the building, reported light smoke in the library, hallway, and adjacent boiler room, and asked for the thermal imager off of the first-due engine.

    Using the thermal imager, we looked high and low for the source of the smoke, which was very light but had that "fluorescent light ballast" sort of smell. Looked at the lights both above and below the ceiling. Sent a crew to the roof to check a roof-mounted A/C unit. Looked at the the electrical panels. Couldn't find a thing, but at least the smoke wasn't getting any thicker.

    Finally, one of my lieutenants says (using Mark 1 Mod 0 human eyeballs) "Hey, Chief! Look at this motor!". What he found was that a hot-water pump on the discharge of the boiler had its motor sieze up, got very hot (charred a paper tag on the motor and discolored the paint), and finally tripped its breaker.

    We probably looked at that motor 5 times or more with the thermal imager and never caught it! Feel kind of stupid, huh?

    Got tunnel vision from finding a lot of incipient fires quickly with the thermal imager, and forgot to use the other senses. Live and learn.

  2. #2
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    RescuHoppy7's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    Owego,NY USA


    A very good lesson learned Chief, I constantly tell my guys to never let the tool take over for your other senses Thanks for sharing
    IAEP Local 152
    "You stopped being in charge when I showed up"

  3. #3
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    backsteprescue123's Avatar
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    Apr 2004


    Im only an explorer but I've had the same encounter in training. Its hard to learn not to use the TIC as your eyes full time. Thanks for the story.
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.

  4. #4
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    Bones42's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
    Pt. Beach, NJ


    I'm just a little curious on how the motor was not registering on your camera? It had to have been hotter than it's surroundings so I would imagine it would have shown. How did the TIC present the image?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  5. #5
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    Weruj1's Avatar
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    Dec 1999
    NW Ohio


    Bonsey ..............I was wondering the same thing .....
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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